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March 2017

Announcing the Center for Faith and Learning

Some 500 years after the start of the Lutheran Reformation, Augustana’s new Center for Faith and Learning will be unveiled during Homecoming Weekend 2017. The center will be directed by Dr. Jason Mahn, associate professor and religion chair, with the mission of promoting Augustana as a church-related college and the distinctiveness of Lutheran higher education.

The center also will support writing, speaking, and other opportunities — both at Augustana and within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America college and university network — related to the intersection of faith and learning, e.g., the "Intersections" journal and other publications, conferences and lecture series, and faculty development.

Clare Stephenson and Father Gutiérrez.
Clare Stephenson '18 talks with Father Gutiérrez.

Meeting Father Gutiérrez

Religion majors Ian Magnuson '17 and Clare Stephenson '18 and faculty members attended the presentation of the Pacem in Terris award to Father Gustavo Gutiérrez by the Diocese of Davenport last fall.

Father Gutiérrez delivered a moving speech calling for friendship with the poor, then spent time engaging in one-on-one conversations with Augustana students and faculty (in Spanish and English).

Liberation theology is taught at Augustana within courses such as Prayer, Community, and Transformation; Suffering, Death, and Endurance; and Political Theology. In the years ahead, Dr. Dan Morris will teach an immersive Liberation Theology class in Nicaragua and Costa Rica through the Central America study away program.

Nudd family supports faculty research

Some time ago, the family of David E. Nudd gave a very generous gift to the Augustana religion department in support of faculty research projects and collaboration among faculty and students.

Over the years, the Nudd Fund has enabled faculty to attend national and international academic conferences, hire student collaborators, and produce compelling and noteworthy research and scholarship.

Three recent efforts have made use of the last of the fund, and we express our sincere thanks to the family of David E. Nudd, and share some information on these latest projects. (Read more)

Alumni share experiences with students

Grace Koleczek
Grace Koleczek '15

Religion students always benefit from hearing about the vocational journeys of alumni. This was brought home to Dr. Jason Mahn this term while teaching RELG391: Suffering, Death, and Endurance, a seminar-style course which allows religion majors and minors to “go deep” into complex ideas and subject matters.

This year the course was augmented by visits from Vicky Gillon ’16 and Grace Koleczek ’15. (Read more)

Interreligious Leadership Certificate

Work continues toward the implement the Interreligious Leadership Certificate at Augustana. The certificate will allow students to explore different religious traditions academically and then apply that knowledge to serve as consultants in religious literacy, and work with non-profit organizations and religious communities.

Classes in the certificate program also focus on intercultural awareness and leadership skills.

Tri City Jewish Center
Students at the Tri City Jewish Center in Rock Island.

Finding answers on field trips

Dr. Brandon Bruning began winter term 2016 with the question: “What’s a (or the) Bible, and how do we imagine people using it?”

To look for answers, he and the students in his Jewish and Christian Scriptures classes viewed the Rare Books collection at Augustana’s Tredway Library and went to the University of Iowa for a seminar. They also visited three different houses of worship in the Quad Cities. (Read more)

New faces around the department

New to the religion department in 2016-17 are instructor Emily Kahm and faculty assistant Christina Sanders-Ring.

Kahm has been doing doctoral work in religions and theological studies at Iliff School of Theology and the University of Denver and hopes to finish this month.

Sanders-Ring replaces long-time Old Main secretary Linda Anderson who retired in December. The post is her first full-time “grown-up job” since returning to college as a full-time non-traditional student in 2011. (Read more)

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Lessons and Carols

The Augustana Chamber Singers presents Lessons and Carols, the story of Christ's birth conducted through readings and songs.

Lessons and Carols

The Augustana Chamber Singers presents Lessons and Carols, the story of Christ's birth conducted through readings and songs.